After our fun filled, gastronomic extravaganza of a weekend we took a day to recover and to prepare before finally leaving Flandria and Bruges. We are really sad to leave both the city and all the wonderful friends we have made there over the last 3 winters.
But….. we hope new adventures await us in northern France…..
We left on Tuesday 14th July and headed off in the pouring rain en route to Valenciennes. First night we stayed in Merelbeke boathaven before heading up the Bovenschelde. We were making good time until we got to Oudenaarde lock where there was a problem and a bit of a traffic jam. We moored up on the halte nautic just before the lock to have some lunch but when things seemed to be taking a long time we decided to stay there for the night. Good decision apart from the wash from passing commercials – one was particularly vicious and caused one of our ropes to break when all 30 tonnes of Piedaleau were thrown about. Not pleasant.
Onwards the next day to the little harbour at Antoing, a place we haven’t stopped before. It looks quite an interesting place to visit again with the Chateau des Princes de Ligne & a Chinese restaurant recommended by Grainne & Andy. There is a stone plaque to commemorate Charles de Gaulle spending a year at school there which was proudly pointed out to us by one of the locals at the nearby Bar des Remparts! Most interesting sunset that evening.
We finally reached Valenciennes on Friday 17th July in conjunction with a German couple, Hans and Heidi, on their yacht, Sy Undine (Mermaid). They are en route to the South of France, the Med, Spain and the Greek Isles. Their departure from the Netherlands was delayed by Covid. They keep having to change their carefully planned route & are now hurrying through France because of diminishing water levels – being a yacht they have a greater water draft. Thoroughly enjoyed talking with them – Hans was a Centrifugal separator specialist for the brewing industry. He has his own micro brewery at home in what was the garage complete with external tap so that their neighbours can share his produce!
Still we took time to all have a beer in the Capitainerie and for Hans & Heidi to join us for a glass of champagne to celebrate our arrival in Valenciennes.